Press Release – Local people let down by Councillors.
Yesterday Basingstoke, Test Valley and Winchester councils voted to ban the community owned wind farm at Bullington Cross. All three Councils decided to completely ignore the massive local support for the farm.
Basingstoke, Test Valley and Winchester Councils decided last night that they would ignore local people and voted to ban the partially community owned wind farm at Bullington Cross.
Two thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Five (2,845) people wrote to or emailed the three councils asking them to support the wind farm. Despite this and with 70% of the UK population wanting wind farms OUR councils decided to refuse a planning application for the construction of a 14 turbine wind farm at Bullington Cross.
The majority of Councillors gave one or more of the following reasons for refusing the planning application from EDF-ER for Bullington Cross Wind Farm:
- The turbines look ugly. This was despite being shown pictures on a big screen of what the turbines would look like and even the planning officers saying “Sorry; you just can’t see them”
- There was a perceived danger that aeroplanes might fly in to them. This was despite two reports from aviation experts that there are no safety concerns over the turbines.
- Wind farms are a danger to wildlife that may live on the site. This was despite the offer from the developer to mitigate these risks and there being no objection from the RSPB. The biggest danger to our wildlife is global warming; but most councillors disagreed with that.
- The MoD needs the area to practice low flying. This was despite the councils being told that the MoD low flying area is 12,500 sq km and that Bullington Cross covers just 0.03% of this area (4.5 sq km).
- The turbines ‘might’ interfere with a weather radar 15km from the site. This was despite the offer from the developer NOT to build the wind farm until this problem had been sorted out.
- The wind turbines ‘might spoil the view of a single listed house 3.9km from the site. This was despite being shown pictures that the turbines would be specks on the horizon at that distance.
Martin Heath a Director of Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-op said “Clearly this is a great disappointment to us and to the many volunteers that helped us out over the past 13 months. A lot of hard work has been put into getting a community ownership of the wind farm; many more people supported the wind farm than opposed it; but still our councillors don’t get it. The biggest danger to us, our ecology and our wildlife is global warming. Somehow our councillors think it is wind farms that are dangerous!”
Martin also thanked all those that came along to the council meeting; demonstrated outside and spoke-up at the meeting. He said “It was heart-warming to see all those local people stand-up in front of the councils and so passionately describe their support for community wind farms. It was equally disappointing when a majority of our elected representatives decided to ignore them.”
He continued “But this is only the beginning of our ambitions for community ownership of renewable energy in Hampshire. We will be encouraging EDF-ER to appeal against the decision; we are discussing a project to install a large solar system on the roof of a local college; and we are looking at other wind farm sites and at using waste to produce electricity”.
He also added “Many thanks to those councillors who listened to their voters; understood that the benefits outweighed the costs and voted for the wind farm”.
Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-op is owned by members of the local community. They plan to invest in renewable energy projects such as Bullington Cross. All the profits made will be re-invested in other community energy schemes in Hampshire and in helping reduce fuel poverty within the community. END